I SAW last night in my sleep my genius clothed with a red flame and standing in a dark place. He held in his hand a cup, into which he bade me look. I did so, and as I looked a mist gathered in the cup like a cloud; and I saw in the cloud spirits wrestling with each other. Then the cup seemed to widen, until it became a great table upon which scenes and words were written. And I saw the vapour filled with astral spirits, ephemeral, flame-like, chimerical; and upon the mist which enveloped and swept around them was written, "The Powers of the Air."
And I said to my genius, "Are these the spirits which control mediums?" And he said, "Do not use that word Medium; for it is misleading. These are the powers which affect and influence Sensitives. 2 They do not control, for they have no force. They are light as vapour. See!" Then he breathed on the table, and they were dispersed on all sides like smoke. And I said, "Whence do these spirits come, and what is their origin and nature?" And he answered,--"They are Reflects. They have no real entity in themselves. They resemble mists which rise from the damp earth of low-lying lands, and which the heat of the sun disperses. Again, they are like vapours in high altitudes, upon which if a man's shadow falls he beholds himself as a giant. For these spirits invariably flatter and magnify a man to himself. And this is a sign whereby you may know them. They tell one that he is a king; another, that he is a Christ; another, that he is the wisest of mortals, and the like. For, being born of the fluids of the body, they are unspiritual and live of the body."
"Do they, then," I asked, "come from within the man?"
"All things," he replied, "come from within. A man's foes are they of his own household."
"And how," I asked, "may we discern the astrals from the higher spirits?"
"I have told you of one sign;--they are flattering spirits. Now I will tell you of another. They always depreciate woman. And they do this because their deadliest foe is the Intuition. And these, too, are their signs. Is there anything strong? they will make it weak. Is there anything wise? they will make it foolish. Is there anything sublime? they will distort and travesty it. And this they do because they are exhalations of matter, and have no spiritual nature. Hence they pursue and persecute the Woman continually, sending after her a flood of eloquence like a torrent to sweep her away. But it shall be in vain. For God shall carry her to His throne, and she shall tread on the necks of them.
"Therefore the high Gods will give through a woman the interpretation which alone can save the world. A woman shall open the gates of the kingdom to mankind, because intuition only can redeem. Between the woman and the astrals there is always enmity; for they seek to destroy her and her office, and to put themselves in her place. They are the delusive shapes who tempted the saints of old with exceeding beauty and wiles of love, and great show of affection and flattery. Oh, beware of them when they flatter, for they spread a net for thy soul."
"Am I, then," I asked, "in danger from them? Am I, too, a Sensitive?" And he said,--
"No, you are a Poet. And in that is your strength and your salvation. Poets are the children of the Sun, and the Sun illumines them. No poet can be vain or self-exalted; for he knows that he speaks only the words of God. 'I sing,' he says, 'because I must.' Learn a truth which is known only to the Sons of God. The Spirit within you is divine. It is God. When you prophesy and when you sing, it is the Spirit within you which gives you utterance. It is the 'New Wine of Dionysos.' By this Spirit your body is enlightened, as a lamp by the flame within it. Now, the flame is not the oil, for the oil may be there without the light. Yet the flame cannot be there without the oil. Your body, then, is the lamp-case into which the oil is poured. And this--the oil--is your soul, a fine and combustible fluid. And the flame is the divine Spirit, which is not born of the oil, but is conveyed to it by the hand of God. You may quench this Spirit utterly, and thenceforward you will have no immortality; but when the lamp-case breaks, the oil will be spilt on the earth, and a few fumes will for a time arise from it, and then it will expend itself and leave at last no trace. Some oils are finer and more spontaneous than
others. The finest is that of the soul of the poet. And in such a medium the flame of God's Spirit burns more clearly, and powerfully, and brightly, so that sometimes mortal eyes can hardly endure its brightness. Of such a one the soul is filled with holy raptures. He sees as no other man sees, and the atmosphere about him is enkindled. His soul becomes transmuted into flame; and when the lamp of his body is shattered, his flame mounts and soars, and is united to the Divine Fire. Can such a one, think you, be vainglorious, or self-exalted, and lifted up? Oh, no, he is one with God, and knows that without God he is nothing. I tell no man that he is a reincarnation of Moses, of Elias, or of Christ. But I tell him that he may have the Spirit of these if, like them, he be humble and self-abased, and obedient to the Divine Word.
"Do not, then, seek after 'controls.' Keep your temple for the Lord God of Hosts; and turn out of it the money-changers, the dove-sellers, and the dealers in curious arts, yea, with a scourge of cords if need be."
"The astral existences, although they are not intelligent personalities, are frequently the media of intelligent ideas, and operate as means of communication between intelligent personalities. Ideas, words, sentences, whole systems of philosophy, may be borne in on the consciousness by means of the currents of magnetic force, as solid bodies are conveyed on a stream, though water is no intelligent agent. The minutest cell is an entity, for it has the power of self-propagation, which the astral has not. It is an imprint only, a shadow, a reflect, an echo.
"The atmosphere with which a man surrounds himself--his soul's respiration--affects the astral fluid. Reverberations of his own ideas come back to him. His soul's breath colours and savours what a sensitive conveys to him. But he may also meet with contradictions, with a systematic presentation of doctrine or of counsels at variance with his own personal views, through his mind not being sufficiently positive to control all the manifestations of the electric agent. The influence of the medium, moreover, through which the words come, interposes. Or, as is often the case, a magnetic battery of thought has overcharged the element and imparted to it a certain current. Thus, new doctrines
are "in the air," and spread like wildfire. One or two strongly positive minds give the initiative; and the impulse flies through the whole mass of latent light, correspondingly influencing all who are in relation with it.
"In man the astral fluid becomes transformed into human life at the moment of conception. It is the envelope of the soul, and constitutes the sideral body, which, in its turn, is the generator of the external body. The internal man--he who ultimately is immortal--consists of soul and spirit. The sideral phantom and the outer body are perishable, save when they undergo transmutation during the tenancy of the soul and spirit. Hence the sideral body, being the generator of sense, is the "Tempter," which--inclining to matter--gives matter the precedence over spirit. Of time and of sense, it beguiles the intuitive part of man. In this way spirit and matter represent, respectively, good and evil. For, in the day that thou givest thyself over to matter, thou becomest liable to extinction."
43:1 London, November 17, 1880. See Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 391-393.
43:2 That this is not intended to be an exhaustive account of the experiences of Sensitives will be seen from Nos. XXXIX, XL, and XLVI.
45:1 Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 400-402.